For a long time we had wanted to take B to see the real life Thomas the Tank Engine, we knew he would be so excited. What child doesn’t love Thomas the Tank Engine and friends? One Sunday we headed down to the Kent and East Sussex Railway in Tenterden to the Day Out with Thomas Experience.
I have to admit, I was dreading it. We had heard stories of queues of people and I expected traffic and platform rage from other buggy wielding parents. However, when we arrived I was pleasantly surprised. There was no 40 minute queue of traffic for the car park, there was no pushing and shoving on the platform and no need to pay for the extras on offer, such as soft play and bouncy castles. So for that I will let them off the fact that entrance and exit was through the gift shop…which resulted in £35 of unplanned spending! Actually, the whole experience was less Disney and more quaint than I was expecting, a welcome surprise.
Thomas himself was the star of the show of course, and B was lucky enough to stand on the plate with the driver and fireman for a picture. We then boarded Annie and Clarabel for a short ride out into the East Sussex countryside. The carriages were old school which I love. There was just enough time to cram some lunch down and fight with B to get him to eat a quarter of a ham sandwich, while O sucked on an empty crisp packet. Lunch and other goodies were carried expertly by me in my Takuro rucksack.
On the way home there was just enough time to squeeze something in for the grown-ups, a brief stop at the Chapel Down Winery. I was driving so had to give the grape a miss but Claire took advantage and had a nice cold glass of white. The gardens and vines are well worth a stroll even if you're not into wine like Miles in 'Sideways'. We'll certainly be back sans minis and the car to sample the full Chapel Down experience.
It was a long day for everyone and both kids were asleep after about 10 minutes in the car but it was a great day. B loved meeting Thomas, the Fat Controller and all his friends and Claire and I loved seeing Chapel Down, even if I couldn't partake in a little vino. We did however get a nice bottle of Pinot to go...
What we took